Why I Really Don’t Care If My Kids Are Scared Of Guns

by Samantha Wassel
Originally Published: 
Two kids playing on the ground, and one of them is drawing something with chalk.

I love my husband fiercely – truly, I do – and he is a devoted, loving, phenomenal father to our twin boys. I couldn’t ask for a better partner to raise my children with, and, for the most part, we see eye-to-eye on major parenting issues.

Except when it comes to teaching our boys about guns.

My husband is in the Army, so he’s around guns a lot. He also grew up in a family where it was the norm to pull out the gun collection at family gatherings, teach the boys about how they worked, and occasionally engage in “shooting practice,” setting their sights on empty pop cans balanced on top of tree stumps.

Guns were a part of his childhood. I know that. I accept that. I can even respect that.

I just don’t want that for my children.

We’ve broached the subject of guns on several occasions, but we always end up at a standstill. While we agree we don’t want to keep one in the house, we’re at a crossroads when it comes to educating our kids about them. My husband thinks it’s important to teach the boys how guns work when they reach a certain age (they’re only toddlers now) so that “they don’t grow up to be afraid of them.”

He’s not the first person I’ve heard use that argument. I’ve overheard conversations between other parents, read articles online, and perused the comment sections of gun-related blog posts. Here are some of the sentiments I’ve stumbled across:

“It’s better they know how a gun works in case they’re ever around one.”

“You don’t want to make them scared of guns.”

“Under the right circumstances, and with adult supervision, there’s nothing wrong with a kid shooting at a target for fun.”

“What if they’re put in a situation where they’re near a gun and need to know how to operate it?”

My response to all of these? Eff. That.

They won’t be in a situation where they need to know how a gun works. Why? Because, as their mother, I won’t allow it. If they turn 18 and decide they want to enlist in the Army or pursue some other career where weapons are involved, they can learn about firearms then.

Right now, here’s what I see as the extent of knowledge they need on the subject:

Guns are dangerous. They kill people. They kill people every day.

And it happens fast. As a military family currently living in Texas, we hear a lot of gun stories on the news. Just recently there was a biker gang shootout in Waco, and nine people died. Nine.

And here’s the kicker: The police were supposedly expecting trouble and were already at the location of the shootout before it started. Before it started. And nine people are still dead.

That’s how fast guns work.

Every single person that died in that shootout was someone’s child. There are probably nine mothers out there grieving over the senseless, premature – and entirely avoidable – loss of a son.

I don’t ever want to be one of them.

Guns kill people. They kill kids.

In fact, I just stumbled across a study reporting that from December 2012 to December 2013, at least 100 children were killed in unintentional shootings in the U.S. That works out to almost two every week.

Two kids a week. Killed by guns.

I don’t want my kids to be part of that statistic. They are too much life to lose.

But you don’t want them to be scared of guns.

I am not intentionally trying to make my kids terrified of guns, but if that’s a byproduct of my decision to keep them away from guns entirely, so be it.

Two kids a week.

Besides, what’s the worst thing that will happen if they are terrified of guns? Maybe they’ll be visiting a friend and see a gun lying around, burst into tears, run outside, and ask the supervising adult to call me so I can come pick them up.

I’d be OK with that.

In fact, I’d be enormously relieved by that.

Two kids a week.

And before anyone starts accusing me of raising my children to resent anyone who carries a weapon, don’t think I haven’t considered that. Of course I don’t want my kids running away from police officers or thinking that they’re “bad guys” because they carry guns. I will try to teach them that there are certain adults who carry weapons as part of their job – like their daddy – and that those people have been specially trained to use guns in order to help others.

I know that discussion will be tricky, and that it’s bound to be rife with “why”s and “what if”s and “how come”s.

I will do the best I can.

Because that’s all I can do. That’s all any of us moms can do.

Two kids a week.

When it comes to my kids being around guns, here’s how I see it: They have virtually nothing to gain, and everything to lose.

Two kids a week.

I have two kids. They are my everything. I don’t want to lose them.

And the bottom line is that I’d rather see my children deathly afraid of something than dead.

{Scary Mommies: It’s up to us. Together, WE CAN DO THIS. Please join us in taking a stand against gun violence and fighting for a safer country for our children. Learn ways to make a difference at}

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